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Marketing and Sales: An Evolutionary Process

Mar 16, 2008
In business, not much happens until a transaction is agreed upon. The strategy of how to make these transactions occur is called marketing. The techniques and procedures for closing the sale is called sales.

Without sales, there is no business.

The successful business is always looking at ways to improve the strategy and process. Successful businesses become students of their markets which is important because the very way transactions occur is changing.

In the "commoditized" age, we focus on price and differentiation. Unless you are a monopoly, some combination of price and benefits are the dynamics in the marketing and sales process today.

But just below the surface, we begin to see smart customers are getting smarter all the time. Smart customers are value conscious when spending their money.

This increased awareness and knowledge has changed the fundamentals of selling.

Value-hungry consumers know they will have a higher potential return on their investment if they can establish a good rapport with the vendor or seller.

It is not only "How can I get more out of the company," but also "What solutions can you bring me today and in the future?"

Repeated contacts are needed to establish this relationship as trust does not come quickly. The contacts should be part of your marketing plan.

Fragmentation in the marketplace is continuing as the competition gets smarter too. Competitors are constantly looking for the competitive edge that will allow them to find their niche.

Price has become a primary concern -- usually falling in the very top priorities. Customers want to get to price early and sales professionals want to get to price last. Clearly the concept is that the more value demonstrated the higher the price.

Profitability is the name of the game. If you work on commission and you give your commission away in the negotiation process, what have you gained?

It either generates profit or brings other benefits. If it does neither, then it hurts the business.

Sales potential is shifting from the immediate sale to a series of ongoing long-term sales. Although initial profits may be lower, the longer-term approach allows for increased profitability by stabilizing sales and lowering the cost of sales.

Organization provides a structure so return is maximized. The problem is usually one of balance. Regimented organizations are usually less productive in the newer business environment.

Organizationally diffused businesses often waste resources.

The wisdom of developing one's individual strategy to be adaptable and responsive will provide a key competitive advantage.

Adaptability and responsiveness are key skills for tomorrow's salesperson. The nature of the market shows no mercy.

Enthusiasm must be generated by the customer. Good employees prefer to work in a business with enthusiastic customers.

It has become clear that the sales process of tomorrow will require more and deeper skills than are required today.

Gone is the door-to-door peddler. Now the sales process requires greater coordination.

The individual salesperson must possess an array of tools and skills and know how to use them wisely. For those salespeople that can bring those kinds of skills to the marketplace the rewards are well worth the trip.

One benefit is clear: they may prove to be the highest compensated employees in the company.
About the Author
Jack Deal is the owner of Jack D. Deal Business Consulting, Santa Cruz, CA. Related articles may be found at http://www.jddeal.com/blog/sales and http://www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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